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Kenilworth 30 Barkers Butts 26

Three out of three home wins for Kenilworth

Last Updated: Oct 9, 2013 02:15pm
Kenilworth, Warwick
By Willie Whitesmith
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A beautiful, sunny day, a pitch in perfect condition, and a large crowd supporting both sides, provided the ideal surroundings for the first league meeting between these two Warwickshire sides since 2006/07, as Kenilworth hosted Barkers’ Butts, at Glasshouse Lane, writes Dean Stephenson.

The Coventry side came into the game, [censored] eighth in the league, having played 3 of the 4 top sides, and earning a creditable draw against high flying Hereford in their last fixture. Kenilworth, who had 12 points were [censored] in fifth position, 2 points ahead of the team from Pickford Green Lane.

Almost immediately from the kick-off, it became evident that the Kenilworth pack had the upper hand in the set piece, pushing the Barkers’ eight off the ball and securing position. The forwards took the ball on, and when it was eventually spread out to the backs, it caught the Barkers’ players offside. The resulting penalty kick was taken by Kenilworth full back Josh Hickman, who scored from 35 metres, giving the home side a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately home three quarter Dominic Sheehan dislocated his finger during these early exchanges, and was replaced by Tom Kendall, who slotted in at his usual position of full back, and the Kenilworth three quarters were re-jigged with wing Jimmy Middleton coming in at centre.

Barkers’, stung into action, decided to take the game to Kenilworth, through their talented back division, and especially through the strong, elusive running of full back Robert Knox, who made huge yardage after being released on an inside burst by his centre, Jack Howland. This break allowed Knox to pass the ball to the Barkers’ winger, who ran in a try by the corner flag. The conversion was missed, but a lesson had been learned, and for the remainder of the game, the Barkers back line caused major problems to Kenilworth, especially the strong running of Knox, and when fly half Tom Stokes, kicked the opposition into the Kenilworth 22, almost immediately from the restart, a fumble by Selby allowed the Barkers’ players to pounce on the loose ball, and again go over in the corner, the resulting conversion was successful from Stokes, and after 15 minutes Kenilworth were down 3 -12.

The home side again used the strong set piece, to move the ball up field through both forwards and then backs, and after a strong run up the wing by new  signing Joe Jepps, the ball was passed along the line, where flanker Jack Gibson crossed the line, and reduced the deficit to 8-12. This game was moving at a break neck pace, and the next score came from another piece of Barkers’ opportunism, when the number eight pounced on a long cut out pass, to intercept and score underneath the posts for an 8 -19 score-line, with only a quarter of the game gone. With the crowd feeling that the next score would be vital, it was again the Kenilworth forwards, who provided the inspiration to get the home side back into the game, pushing the Barkers’ pack off their own ball and allowing the ever vigilant Renowden to take the ball from the Barker’s scrum half, and then feed Gibson, who again made the line for his second try. The resulting conversion attempt from Hickman hit the post but the score was now 13-19, and with the pack keeping up the pressure, resulting in a number of penalties, which moved the home side deep into Barkers’ territory, and a number of drives up the pitch, resulted in prop Nick Collett spinning over the line and with the successful conversion by Hickman, the home side led at half time 20-19.

The second half started well for the home side, with the backs through Simon Tyler getting in on the score sheet, after a deft cut back inside, and a serving run to the line, the conversion by Hickman making the score 27-19 with only 3 minutes of the second half gone. Barkers’ were kept in the game by Kenilworth time and time again missing touch and allowing the opposition to run back the ball, and only a last gasp tackle into the corner stopped Barkers’ from narrowing the margin. Kenilworth had by now made a number of changes on the field. Jack Gibson was replaced by Sam Flowers, Sheehan had returned into the centre, and wing Middleton was replaced by Kendall. Try scorer Collett was also replaced by Matt Gibson, and when the impressive James Wadey went down, Jack Gibson returned to the fray. But Kenilworth had not learnt their lesson, and running from inside his own 22 Knox broke a number of tackles to release the winger to score, which was converted by Stokes, to make the score 27-26.

With the time running down the Kenilworth pack took complete control, which put pressure on a Barkers’ pack going backward, and allowed Renowden and the back row of Gibson, Nancarrow and Thompson, to force a number of penalties, which Hickman, when in range, extended the lead to 30-26. The remainder of the game was played in the oppositions 22 with the Kenilworth forwards driving for the line, but only brave defence keeping them at bay.

Final score 30-26.

Roger Roberts, of main sponsor, Gingernut Creations, was delighted with the result. ’That’s 3 home wins from 3 home games, in a very competitive league, the boys are playing out of their skins, and everyone is working hard’.

Kenilworth’s next game is away to near rivals Balsall and Berkswell.

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